Sheriff Villanueva Says He Would Like Deputies to Oversee All Metro Law Enforcement Services – Daily News

Los Angeles county sheriff Alex Villanueva said he wanted his department to handle all police duties on the county’s public buses and trains during a live streaming session on Wednesday December 1, arguing that his Employees are best equipped for the job and that the change would save millions in taxpayers’ money.

Los Angeles County’s Metropolitan Transportation Board currently has a contract with the Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles and Long Beach Police Departments to oversee public safety and law enforcement. The board was due to vote at its meeting on Thursday to extend the contract by six months by $ 75 million.

Of this, the Los Angeles Police Department received approximately $ 38.6 million, the Sheriff’s Department $ 32.8 million and the Long Beach Police Department $ 3.7 million.

As it stands, moving all law enforcement operations to the Sheriff’s Department is not on the Metro board’s agenda.

“The staff recommended that our board of directors approve funding for the remaining six months of our law enforcement contracts with the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Long Beach Police Department,” LA Metro said in a statement, “and an extension authorize”. up to a year. We believe this will give the Metro Public Safety Advisory Committee sufficient time to finalize its long-term recommendations. “

Villanueva told followers on Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday that if the Sheriff’s Department took over all of the Metro’s law enforcement operations, it could save up to $ 30 million in taxpayers’ money annually and take responsibility for the routes currently monitored by the LAPD and LBPD .

The sheriff’s department oversaw all of the Metro’s enforcement until 2017, when some of the jurisdiction was taken over by Los Angeles and Long Beach law enforcement agencies.

The sheriff accused Los Angeles police of earning $ 75 million in overtime, but it wasn’t clear how long that was.

Los Angeles and Long Beach police did not immediately respond to the comment.

The LASD’s Transit Services Bureau operates on a 24-hour schedule, so Villanueva said his department doesn’t charge the Metro for overtime.

“I will propose and we will put this in writing to the MTA board of directors. We will propose to monitor the entire contract,” he said. “The whole system, like we did before 2017. We will do it with a full-time staff. “

Villanueva argued that his department was best equipped to ensure public safety on buses and trains. He highlighted LASD teams, each specially trained to respond to terrorist attacks, people with mental health problems and the homeless.

“There will be continuity of service providers,” he said, “the continuity of jurisdiction, communication and all the bells and whistles that come with contracts with the sheriff’s department.”

District mayor Sheila Kuehl said Metro’s board of directors signed a deal with the three agencies in 2017 because it made more sense to have local law enforcement agencies in their areas.

“The thought (at the time) was that it is better to have local law enforcement agencies for these train stations and these bus routes,” she said in an interview on Wednesday, “because they can be in the train station or near the train station. The flexibility for law enforcement was better. It wasn’t against the sheriff back then, but it just made sense to us. “

Kuehl said she believes it still makes sense to keep going.

District head Janice Hahn also added an amendment to the prosecution contract, according to which authorities require a COVID vaccine for deputies or civil servants.

While a vaccination mandate is in force for all employees in the county, Villanueva has withdrawn the mandate for his deputies.

“It’s quite amusing to me that the sheriff might think that his officers should have the full range of law enforcement in the Metro,” said Kuehl. “When he can’t even meet the vaccination requirements for the small part he has.”

Villanueva reiterated criticism of another plan proposed by an LA Metro ad hoc committee that would replace police and deputies on transit lines with civilian “public safety ambassadors”. He suggested that abolishing law enforcement would exacerbate a rising trend of assaults against staff and passengers in transit. He said there had been 38 attacks on LA Metro workers in LASD-patrolled areas so far in 2021, compared to 25 in 2020 and 26 in 2019.

Villanueva accused the LA Metro board of directors of having no contact with the people it serves. He called buses and trains “mobile homeless shelters” and accused traffic officials of “inviting the homeless population onto your trains, onto your platforms,” and suggested that they contribute to the crime.

The sheriff said he caught a pervasive smell of urine last week while riding the county’s subway lines.

“Remember, we’re going to the Super Bowl, which we’ll be hosting in February,” said Villanueva. “WM, Olympia 2028. We need a first-class transit system that is not a mobile shelter for the homeless.”

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